Ireland 'united in grief' as tributes paid to Irish-Israeli woman killed in Hamas attack

A funeral for Kim Damti was held on Thursday in Gedera, Israel.
A funeral for Kim Damti was held on Thursday in Gedera, Israel.

IRISH-Israeli woman Kim Damti will be remembered for bringing "happiness and joy" to her family and friends, President Michael D Higgins said after the 22-year-old's death at the hands of Hamas was confirmed.

Ms Damti, whose mother is originally from Portlaoise, was confirmed on Wednesday evening to have died following Saturday's attack by Hamas gunmen on a dance music festival in Israel.

Around 250 people are thought to have been killed during the attack at the Tribe of Nova festival - one of 22 separate attacks on locations close to the Gaza border that left around 1,300 dead.

Up to 150 people are believed to have been taken captive by Hamas during the attacks, and Ms Damti's family spent days waiting for news before learning she was among those who had been killed.

It has been reported around 1,300 Palestinians have since died following retaliatory strikes by Israel on Gaza

A funeral for the young woman was held on Thursday in Gedera, where she lived in Israel's Shfela region.

Irish Ambassador to Israel, Sonya McGuinness, told mourners Ms Damti "was the best of who we are as a shared people".

In a statement announcing her death "with heartfelt sorrow" on Wednesday evening, Ms Damti's aunt Pat Copper, from Coolrain in Co Laois, said: "We thank all those who have supported us with love and encouragement over the past five days. We respectfully request the media to allow us to grieve in the privacy of our family."

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President Higgins said he learned of confirmation of her death "with the greatest sadness".

"The circumstances in which her life was taken, having travelled as she did to attend a music festival, are truly appalling," he said.

"It is not only those of us who are parents, but all of those who feel that young people should be free to attend events with their peers in conditions of safety, who will find such circumstances where a young life is taken so appalling.

"Kim's death once again reminds us what an outrageous breach of fundamental international law in conditions of conflict it is to target civilians in this way."

He added: "May I send my deepest condolences to Kim's family, friends and all those with whom she shared her life."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ireland was "united in mourning".

"This vibrant young Irish-Israeli woman was struck down in her prime, with her adult life ahead of her," he said.

“Kim gave happiness and joy to her family and those around her. As we learn of her death, we pause to think of her, her family in Israel and Ireland and of all those now grieving in countless other nations.”